It promises to be a productive fishing opener for those anglers hoping to land our state fish. The season for Walleye anglers starts at 12:01 AM on May 11 this year. Anglers are advised to purchase their license ahead of this time to avoid the last minute rush and valuable time on the lake. Rainy Lake is a vast 210,000 acre body of beautiful scenery and supply of fish species. According to the MN DNR, Rainy Lake has special rules and regs that should be reviewed and observed regarding limits and is fortunate to be more generous than many MN lakes. There are also special rules that apply if you are fishing along the Canadian side of the lake meaning anglers should read up on these ahead of planning their trip to the area. Boat rentals, fishing guides and lodging are all available and recommended to maximize the possibilities of success on opener weekend. Again, plan ahead to secure these resources before they fill up. While no one can predict the weather, the fact that Rainy Lake is part of the Rainy River, there is always open water available by opening weekend to explore and cast a line.
Every bucket list should include a house boat vacation on Rainy Lake! There is nothing quite like the experience and variety of things that can be enjoyed from the comfort and mobility of a houseboat. House boats can accommodate from 2-12 guests and can be outfitted with kayaks, canoes , water slides and other amenities based on what you want to experience while on a 3,4 or 7 day cruise. Experiences are endless and include everything from fishing, bird and nature watching, hiking, swimming, sunbathing or just relaxing with a book while being gently rocked by the lake's waves.
What are you waiting for?
Boats are now launching onto Rainy River from Nelson Park at Birchdale, and Koochiching County officials say the Frontier Access will soon be open too. People flock to Rainy River for some of the earliest open water fishing in the state. The border waters remain open to walleye fishing until April 14, however, Rainy River is catch-and-release only. You can reel in a big Walleye, snap a few photos and release a breeder back into the system.
If you're looking to keep a fish, Northern Pike, Crappie and Smallmouth Bass are open continuous but there are size restrictions on the Northern Pike.
On April 24, the first Sturgeon tag season opens on Rainy River. You are allowed one per year with a tag, and it must be 45-50 inches inclusive, or larger than 75 inches. The tag season will remain open until May 7th with a catch-and-release period to follow from May 8-15 and it is closed entirely to allow for spawning from May 15-July 1.
Rainy River is a recovering Sturgeon fishery and doing very well. Do your part if you fish for these monsters, use barbless hooks and keep the fish in a horizontal orientation during any handling, holding fish this large in a vertical orientation can cause damage to internal organs.
International Falls, Rainy Lake and Ranier Convention and Visitors Bureau